Lecture: Vaccines for Dogs

Vaccines for dogs

Lecture Notes

In this lecture we will talk about vaccines for dogs


Lecture Notes

Vaccines are essential weapons in the battle against infectious disease, and an essential part of your dog's preventive health program.

Vaccines are composed of infectious agents that have been altered in some way to make them nonpathogenic, and they work to increase an animal's immunity against the pathogens.

Vaccines for dogs: overview

Lecture Notes

Your veterinarian will recommend a vaccination program based on your dog's age, his potential exposure to certain diseases, and the risk of particular diseases in your geographic area.

DHPPLC is the abbreviation for a commonly used polyvalent, or combination vaccine that is highly recommended by many veterinarians.


Lecture Notes

The D stands for canine distemper, an often fatal viral disease that suppresses the immune system. In addition to nonspecific signs of illness, such as fever and depression, a dog with distemper will often show signs of a respiratory infection, such as coughing and a discharge from the nose and eyes.

The distemper virus can affect multiple body systems, including the nervous system, leading to neurological signs such as convulsions or seizures. Most dogs whose nervous systems are affected will eventually die of the disease. Those who survive will likely experience permanent neurological problems.

Infectious Canine Hepatitis

Lecture Notes

The H represents infectious canine hepatitis, a viral disease that targets the liver, as well as the kidneys, eyes, and the vascular endothelium, the cells lining the inner surfaces of blood vessels.

There is a range of how the disease affects animals. The most severe form can very rapidly affect young puppies, but dogs of all ages can be affected.

Signs of illness can include a high fever, vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal pain, a reddening of the mucous membranes and hemorrhaging from the nose, gums, GI tract, and under the skin.

Canine Parvovirus

Lecture Notes

Canine parvovirus is a viral disease that attacks primarily the intestinal tract, but also other rapidly dividing cells such as those found in the bone marrow, heart muscle, and immune system. Since the intestinal tract is involved, common signs of illness include vomiting and severe diarrhea…which then leads to dehydration and weight loss. A fever is also common.

Parvovirus is mostly seen in puppies under 6 months of age, and can quickly lead to death if untreated.

It is not fully understood why, but some breeds…including Rottweilers, Doberman Pinscers, and American Staffordshire Terriers…may be more susceptible to parvovirus infections than other breeds.


Lecture Notes

Parainfluenza is one of the primary viral contributors to ‘kennel cough' - Kennel cough, or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious disease caused by a number of different organisms that inflame and damage the lower respiratory tract.

These organisms can be viruses and bacteria. Again, the primary virus is parainfluenza.

The most common sign of kennel cough is a persiste, dry, hacking cough. This condition is of highest concern for dogs who travel a lot for shows or competitions, and those who are boarded.


Lecture Notes

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that may cause mild infections in most dogs, but can cause inflammation of internal organs, leading to more serious complications…especially if the kidneys and liver are involved.

Dogs tend to come into contact with the bacteria through contaminated water sources, so dogs at highest risk are those who spend a lot of time outdoors and may be exposed to contaminated water or soil. Some veterinarians recommend that only dogs at risk of contracting leptospirosis be vaccinated.

Canine Coronavirus

Lecture Notes

The C is for coronavirus, another virus that causes damage to the intestinal wall….signs therefore generally include appetite loss, vomiting and diarrhea. Because the disease is usually mild or asymptomatic, some veterinarians consider the vaccine optional.

Vaccines for dogs: review

Lecture Notes

So, to review - the DHPPLC combination vaccine includes…


Lecture Notes

Now let's talk briefly about rabies. The rabies vaccine is never optional; it is required by law.

Rabies is a deadly viral disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is a major public health concern because is can be easily passed to other mammals. The primary mode of transmission is through a bite wound.

Optional vaccines for dogs

Lecture Notes

There are optional vaccines that you may want to consider based on your veterinarian's recommendation. Two examples, both caused by bacteria, are Bordetella and Lyme disease.


Lecture Notes

Recall that kennel cough is a condition with multiple pathogens involved. As we know, the primary viral contributor to kennel cough is parainfluenza, and the primary bacterial contributor is Bordetella bronschiseptica. The vaccine against Bordetella is often recommended for dogs that are at high risk of exposure, such as show dogs, sporting or hunting dogs, and those that are boarded.

Lyme Disease

Lecture Notes

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can lead to joint problems and other severe complications if left untreated. It is caused by bacteria transmitted by ticks, an external parasite. Veterinarians are more likely to recommend this vaccine for dogs who live in areas with high incidences of the disease, especially those with frequent outdoor access.

Vaccines for Dogs: summary

Lecture Notes

In summary, vaccines are an essential component of your dog's preventive health care program. Your veterinarian can help you determine the best vaccination program for your dog.


Lecture Notes